For those of you who know anything about Finland, it might come as a surprise that there are fjords in Finland. Or well, technically a fjord. When talking about fjords, most people instantly picture those marvelous, steeply plummeting walls on the coast of Norway or New Zealand, but in Finland too? I mean, the country’s topography is closer to the one in the Netherlands than the one in Norway..So yes, when I learned this summer that there is a fjord also in Finland, I was rather surprised. What I was even more surprised about was the fact that it is located in my home town – Tampere. You can only imagine how stupid I felt myself at that point. I have, after all been living here for 9 years…
Paarlahti in Teisko is called the only fjord in Finland, some 20kms from the Tampere city center. Paarlahti is connected to Näsijärvi, the biggest lake in the area. Starting from Kämmenniemi, the ten kilometers long straight reaches depths of 60 meters at bests and the profile is steep enough so that it can be called a fjord. But, this is not really an ordinary fjord. It is not on the coast, nor there are mountains anywhere near it, but what is even more unusual is that there is a small island too – something you would not typically find in the fjords.
So, a few weeks ago, on a Sunday morning, I decided it was time to go and explore the area. 20 minutes of driving and I was already in Kämmenniemi, where the “fjord” connects to the lake. The most scenic thing you can find there is the Aunessilta, a one ached granite bridge built in the 19th century. The bridge was originally used for crossing the water, but once a bigger bridge was built next to it in the 50s, the old bridge is now used as a pedestrian bridge. Other than the bridge, there is not much to see. The terrain on both sides of the narrow straight spreads around as fairly flat, so the height variation is not visible at all. The bridge is beautiful yes and scenery as well, but if you are expecting to see a fjord, this won’t get you far..
The deepest point of Paarlahti is, however, some five kilometers away from Kämmenniemi. After some time wandering around the bridge, realizing there is no way to walk by the water towards the deepest point, I jump back to the car. On the road towards Viitapohja, I realize that this fjord hunting is actually more challenging than I thought it would be. The road goes along the water some hundreds of meters away from the shore. But, to get to the shore, you need to go through peoples back yards, or through the woods. Neither does seem like a good solution. Fortunately, however, I was able to find one road, which provides access to the water, close enough to the presumably deepest point in the area.
Once I jump off the car, I really start to doubt the accuracy of the story. The other side of the so-called fjord is only a few hundred meters away and again, the terrain is just as flat as it would be around any other lake in Finland. It may be that the water is deep, but there are no noticeable signs above the surface that would support this. I understand now why I had not heard of this fjord before. So my suggestion is, if you are into fjord-hunting, it is much more profitable to travel to, say, Norway, rather than Teisko.